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Abuja Light Rail Project, Dino Melaye And Matters Arising

Dino Melaye

Listening to Senator Dino Melaye’s blanket indictment over the Abuja light rail project, one would be forgiven for concluding that the Kogi-born politician is the best saint since Nigerians discovered the gospel of anti-corruption fight. Only that Senator Melaye, the chairman of Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), for those who know him up close, is the exact opposite of the good PR job he has now been packaged to have the world believe.

The people finally got sick of the padded living available to lawmakers and they now monitor public spending the way predatory species guard over their young ones. The likes of Dino Melaye’s must thus supplement the legitimate jumbo pay he earns as a lawmaker and what better approach than to revert back to paid activism. In this instance the Senate Committee he chairs is just perfect for providing access to information and giving the institutional muscle to shake down his marks.

No matter how broke or desperate one is for money, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el Rufai, should not in any way feature on the list of those to be blackmailed for money. Both men have the reputation for being thorough in their commitment to the assignments they execute on behalf of the people.

The attempt by Senator Melaye to use the Senate Committee on FCT to shake down the Kaduna governor therefore stinks even from miles away.

The official narrative is that the committee raised a legislative query on the cost of the Abuja intra city rail project, initiated under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo while Mallam Nasir el-Rufai was FCT minister.

The unofficial narrative, in the tradition of activism for money, will entail the series of ‘reaching out’ to the former minister through emissaries whose success would have ensured this matter didn’t get to public knowledge. The response of el-Rufai that we have come to know need not be imagined in this case as he wouldn’t have made any attempt to garnish his rebuff with any civility.

Had Dino Melaye invested a few minutes in thinking through this his latest venture before executing, he would have probably settled for another mark instead of the duo he has taken on.

These people know Melaye, possibly better than he knows himself. They are aware that the anti-corruption stance upon which he rode to the Senate was a source of livelihood for his stomach and family.

Who is Dino Melaye fooling? Did the wealth he has amassed in the last five years while out of public office come about from fairies waving magic wands or did a benevolent river goddess smile upon him? I dare Dino Melaye to publish his asset declaration with the Code of Conduct Bureau in line with the blowing wind of change.

Here is a man who has never failed to attend a single court session with Senator Bukola Saraki, who is being tried for corruption allegations and numerous sleaze against his fellow Kwarans. Melaye was on ground for his boss’ wife as she went on trial for the atrocious looting she committed against the masses of Kwara State, whose only crime was voting her husband as governor.

An online news outlet has accused him of operating a foreign account and published evidences against him which are enough for him to join Saraki in the accused box when the trial resumes. He has curiously refused to address this, but is in a hurry to bury others after laying his own bed in the shrine of corruption.

Senator Stella Odua who kowtowed in the Dino-led pro-corruption Saraki struggle was harassed, intimidated and accused of approving a multi-million naira car loan while in office, all in a bid to call her to order.

When he got this committee job against other experienced legislators, Nigerians knew that Saraki must have unleashed another loosed volcano on the Senate as we saw in the Dimeji Bankole days when Dino’s shirt was torn in a “sharing formula” inspired melee. It apparently didn’t occur to Saint Dino at that time to take his oversight powers as a legislator seriously and review how rail contract was being awarded.

Why didn’t Dino Melaye’s latest blame game start until Chief Olusegun Obasanjo recently drew the attention of the House of Representatives to the level of corruption in the National Assembly? If this is Melaye’s way of diverting attention from the issues raised by Obasanjo on the National Assembly budget and how they conduct their oversight then I am sure it will be a fruitless journey to convince Nigerians who are now better informed since access to information improved. They will certainly be ticked off that these wild allegations, without any verification or public hearing, is aimed at getting back at Obasanjo on one hand and making el-Rufai part with ‘something’ on the other.

One cannot deny Dino Melaye of a lifestyle to which he has grown accustomed just as dissuading him from financing the lifestyle the only way he knows would be difficult.

—Agbese is a public affairs commentator

The post Abuja Light Rail Project, Dino Melaye And Matters Arising appeared first on Nigerian News from Leadership News.